Scientists find healthy Tasmanian Devils, giving hope to save species



Sydney - A group of healthy Tasmanian Devils have been found in a remote part of the Australian island-state of Tasmania, reigniting hope to save the endangered species from going extinct.



 The marsupials, found only in Tasmania, have suffered from a contagious Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) that has decimated more than 80 per cent of its population in the past two decades.
The 14 individual animals, free of the deadly infectious disease, were found by scientists during their eight-day conservation expedition in the island's south-west Wreck Bay and Nye Bay area, David Pemberton, Save the Tasmanian Devil programme manager told dpa on Sunday.
The trapped animals ranged in age from 18 months to five years old.
"The finding if very significant," Pemberton told dpa on Sunday. "The major thing is the geographical location where the Devils were found is totally isolated from the rest of the population."
"We are certain there are more of them," he added.
The Devil that got its name from growl-like scream is the world's largest carnivorous marsupial. An adult is up to 70 centimetres long and weighs 12 kilograms.
Scientists collected excrement to look at the Devils' microbiome, in addition to tissue from ear biopsies. The samples are currently being analysed in labs to study of the genetic diversity of the healthy Devils and compare them to the infected populations.

 


Sunday, April 29th 2018
(dpa)
           


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